I'm a huge admirer of Max Hastings as a historian- his recent book on world war two was brilliant. But I've just heard him on World at One, burbling nonsense about the Kenyan victims of colonial torture. William Hague has announced the award of some £20m in compensation to over 5000 claimants against the terrible treatment; they will receive around £2500 each. Hastings lambasted the decision. Judges had lost their minds to make such awards. Which other ex imperial countries would do the same? We must be mad he raged. And all on the basis of dodgy verbal evidence regarding things which happened 60 years ago..
Martin Day, the claimants' lawyer was relatively gentle in his demolition of these staunch Telegraph- Mail views. There is vast amounts of written evidence- much of it in government archives. There is the book by Ian Cobian, Cruel Britannia, a carefully documented piece of research. There was the evidence of 'Naomi' on the programme who attested to how a bottle being thrust inside her when she was close to childbirth; how her husband was castrated and her children killed.
It seemed Max's only complaint was that it was so long ago and that other nations wouldn't have done it and many more claimants would now come forward to claim. Well, I think that any decent person would think we owed some kind of redress to people who had been so treated; the passage of time makes no real difference; and, as Day commented, several other nations have paid out similar compensation, including Germany to Israel. Max Hastings should hang his head in shame for perpetrating such disgraceful attitudes.